Study says trees can play crucial role in battle against global warming

Planting forests to remove carbon dioxide from the air — a form of carbon sequestration — would be roughly as effective in the battle against global warming as conserving energy or switching to new fuels, according to a new study from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. The study pegs the cost of removing a ton of CO2 from the air using large swaths of forest at between $25 and $75, roughly comparable to the cost of energy-efficiency measures. Of course, it would cost more than $7 billion a year and use an area the size of Texas to remove 20 percent of the CO2 from the atmosphere, but really, would losing the use of Texas be that bad? (We kid! We’re not messing with you, Texas. We’ve heard it’s unwise.) Although the authors stress that the ultimate effectiveness of such sequestration efforts depends on a number of currently unknowable factors — alternative land uses, the development of tracking mechanisms — they conclude that, when the U.S. finally joins the battle in earnest, forests should be considered alongside other weapons in its arsenal.